Regrets: Duane Freeman — Department of National Defence
Observers: Judith Burke — South Islands Aquatic Stewardship Society
- Nancy Holman DFO Communications and Judith Burke from South Islands Aquatic Society were introduced. Judith will be assisting 2WE Associates with the public meetings.
TERMS OF REFERENCE REVIEW
- Roundtable discussion and revision of Terms of Reference.
ACTION ITEM: Marc Pakenham to circulate revised Terms of Reference.
- Marc Pakenham described the results of various information sessions and outcomes to date including: Sports Fishing Advisory Board’s endorsement of the bathymetric model; the diving community’s support of the bathymetric model with an extension to the 50 metre depth contour. The greatest amount of support was for the angularized version (Option 2.)
- Keith Symington inquired where would 50 metre contour be on the map. Marc Pakenham indicated that he would produce another map showing the 50-metre contour line.
- Marc Pakenham discussed the option of cutting off the western fingers and extending northern boundaries of the ER.
- Keith Symington suggested that we need to discuss what is important at the end of the day (e.g. the establishment of the first MPA in Canada).
- Garry Fletcher suggested that northern point of Option 2 does not need to go further than northern boundary of the ER. Race Passage falls well below the “protection unit” and protection of that area would not provide any added value to the core area.
- Angus Matthews indicated that the major users of Race Rocks from an operational perspective are one — the sports fishing community, two — the eco-tourism community and three – the dive community. We need to focus on those that are going to be using the area. The existing problems with Option 2 are: 1) the northern point in Race Passage, and 2) western fingers are prime halibut areas.
- Sean Moore indicated that he needs to have information to hand out regarding boundaries. His experience indicates that the numbers of people that fish in area has been dropping since the inception of the ER and that many people know and recognize the existing footprint.
- Sean Moore indicated that SFAB totally supports no-take of resident species but is still looking for fishing opportunities for transient species.
- Howard Breen agreed with Angus Matthews’ remark that boundaries are a “maker or breaker” issue. What is important is getting task completed. He suggested that existing boundaries won’t reach conservation goal, but future network of MPAs will add to biomass for all users.
- Kelly Francis re-iterated that during consultation or information sessions we are referring to Race Rocks and not all future MPAs. This process may be used as a template but the outcomes may not necessarily be the same.
- Cheryl Borris felt that the College is the primary constituent at Race Rocks and not fish harvesters. The ER is the land and the seabed and the MPA is water column. There are separate goals for each, but we need to keep them joined. The issue of the MPA is whether it is going to be a no-take or not. First Nations have suggested that they would suspend harvesting for 5 years. Is SFAB willing to do that?
- Tom Sampson expressed his concern that if this process was to establish a protected area than it should be protected in its entirety. He felt that a larger area would be better because there are other areas for all fishermen to go to. He suggested that First Nations would be looking to look at this project for 4 to 5 years to see if MPAs work. He indicated that the RRAB is too concerned with excluding people out of the area and out of the process, and the focus should be on the fact that we are already out of and not recognizing the natural process.
- Keith Symington indicated that to facilitate completion of the process he would rather support going back to Option 1 with a no-take provision and that changing the ER boundaries would be viewed negatively by the conservation community.
- Garry Fletcher indicated that the 20-fathom line boundary of the ER was not based on science but on limit of scuba diving. In 1990, fisheries regulations were put in place to address impact on the ecosystem from harvesting. The RRAB has to come to terms with the fact that this area is not a scientifically defensible in terms of conservation and protection but that there is an urgency to move forward. Future MPAs may need a 20-year study to determine where to put boundaries, but until that time use existing boundaries i.e.. the Ecological Reserve.
- Jim Morris indicated that the problems lie with compliance, enforcement and education. He suggested a 5-year study plan to examine options of a larger area.
- Howard Breen suggested that we need a mechanism to ensure that users know when they are in or out of the ER/MPA. The RRAB should not be hung up on boundaries – education /enforcement is the greater issue.
- Angus Matthews suggested that the essence of problem is compliance and education and that it is very hard to inform people of fishing rules when the rules are not straightforward. He felt that it was critical to collect data as to why people are at Race Rocks and what they are doing.
- Angus Matthews suggested that with the addition of a radar system they would be able to overlay boundaries on radar screen. He also indicated that they may be able to use strobe lights to signal people when they are in or out of the boundaries
- Jenny Sparkes suggested that until the objectives of the MPA are defined it is not possible to make a decision on boundaries.
- Anita Voss inquired when would the boundary questions be decided. Kelly Francis indicated that we have to finish public consultations before boundary decision can be made.
- Cheryl Borris suggested that maybe step one is to accept the existing ER boundaries as the MPA for now and plan for an incremental approach to addressing changes.
DRAFT MANAGEMENT PLAN
- Marc Pakenham distributed a copy of an example of a provincial management plan and asked for the RRAB to review it.
- Marc Pakenham indicated that the current draft management plan does not discuss governance or fiscal/financial implications and discussed ideas of an annual report as a reporting tool.
- Jim Morris described the province’s requirement for a certain format and management plan specifically for the ER.
- Angus Matthews indicated that the governments have to work together in the development of a unified management plan. Keith Symington and Tom Sampson both agreed to this point.
- Cheryl Borris inquired if the Province had a problem going forward with a joint plan.
- Jim Morris indicated that the only problem is question of format. He indicated that he would go back to his managers to let them to know that the RRAB wants a joint plan.
- Howard Breen indicated that the one of the reason he was here is to ensure that the governments work together on this pilot.
- Marc Pakenham thanked Dr. Voss for her attendance and participation. He informed the board that Scott Wallace has been unable to participate to-date because of workload and remote location. Marc asked for suggestions for another Science representative.
- Keith Symington suggested Bill Austin from the Cowichan Marine Centre.
- Gary Fletcher suggested someone from the University of Victoria would be preferable, as they would be able to generate future interest for graduate students.
- Anita Voss suggested that Bill Cosgrove or Phil Lambert from the Royal BC Museum might be good candidate.
- Gary Fletcher suggested that Norm Healy from Royal Roads may be interested.
- Gary Fletcher gave a progress report on the www.racerocks.com project.
- Marc Pakenham discussed the DND site tour and thanked Bill Laing for hosting the event.
- Marc Pakenham informed the board of the latest information sessions including the session with dive community who expressed interested in a volunteer warden program. The dive community may develop a code of conduct for divers in the ER/MPA as well as regulations regarding speed limits. Erin Bradley suggested that it was a very useful discussion about compliance and volunteer policing of the area by the people who are using the area.
- Howard Breen inquired if there was any expression of interest from the divers about sinking a wreck in the MPA. Marc Pakenham indicated there was not.
- Angus Matthews indicated that there were opportunities for local divers to participate in research at Race Rocks that require a relatively low science background (e.g. through Reefkeepers).
- Jim Morris indicated he was enthusiastic with the meeting with local divers. He felt that divers do not want anchorage in MPA and may want to include an environmental component in their training.
- Marc Pakenham discussed the presentation to the Metchosin Regional District and indicated that they will be sending a motion of support for the project.
- Marc Pakenham discussed the upcoming public consultation sessions and the possible contracting of 2WE Consultants. The target date for these sessions is the second to third week of February.
- Angus Matthews inquired as to what sort of forum would be used to inform the public of the sessions. Marc Pakenham and Nancy Holman suggested that it would be a combination of radio, and daily and weekly newspapers. Angus Matthews suggested using a Western Community site as well as in Victoria.
- Angus Matthews suggested also advertising the information on the Internet and that the presentation could use an open house type format.
- Howard Breen inquired what would be the end date for information sessions. Angus Matthews suggested that it should coincide with last public presentation.
- After a roundtable discussion around time and location Marc Pakenham indicated that February the 12th from 0930-1530 in Victoria and the 16th in Metchosin from 1930-2130 would be planned for.
- Marc Pakenham discussed the opportunity to use a video teleconference facility to communicate with New Zealand sports fishers and their experience with the establishment of MPAs. Rupert Gale suggested although that was an interesting idea he cautioned that the issues are different in New Zealand than here in terms of target species and the establishment of MPAs.
Next meeting date: Feb 23 2000 1200-1600
Location: 1st Floor Parks Board Room, 800 Johnson St. Victoria